With an estimated 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet. Given its recently rebranded parent company Meta also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, outages can cause widespread disruption around the world.
That’s exactly what happened on 4 October 2021, when
all three went down at the same time globally. Senior employees quickly
acknowledged the problem, but it would be six hours before services were back up and running.
It was the biggest outage at Facebook since 2008, when far fewer people relied on its services. That should help to illustrate just how rare it is for Facebook to be down across the world, but more localised downtime is more common. If you’re not able to access Facebook right now, the issue might not be on your end.
Is Facebook down?
Facebook has a hugely robust server system, backups, and preventative measures to ward off hackers. This will only have been reinforced following the 2021 outage, so major problems are very rare.
One easy way to check whether the problem is down to Facebook itself is to access the site from another device. If your phone is having trouble, then using a
tablet or switching from your Wi-Fi to mobile data should answer that question. You can even ask friends or work colleagues if they can get onto the site will let you know whether the issue is local to your device or not.
If you use Twitter then search for the hashtag #isfacebookdown and you’ll usually find multiple entries if there is a problem. UK residents could also check the
Down Detector website which monitors any issues on the site, or
Down Right Now which is another excellent alternative. Obviously if there is a problem on Facebook then you can try reporting it via the aforementioned sites, or directly to its Twitter account, which is @facebook.
Check your connection
Obviously the very first thing to check is whether your internet or 3G/4G connection is working. Sounds very basic, we know, but it’s an important one to tick off the list right at the beginning. If you’re not familiar with how to do this, just look at the top of your display for an upside-down triangle made up of curved lines. Depending on the strength of your signal some of these may be greyed out, while others are filled in with black or white lines. If all of them are grey, or you see some kind of exclamation mark or cross attached to the icon, then the problem is most likely here. Go to your settings and try turning the Wi-Fi connection off and then back on again and see if that clears the problem.
Reload the app
If your internet connection is up and running then the next thing to try is closing the Facebook app itself and reloading it.
On an Android device, there are two main methods. Either click the square icon at the bottom of your screen or swipe up from the same location. Then find the Facebook app and swipe it away.
A similar swiping gesture is used to access recent apps on iOS, which can again be swiped away. On devices which still have Touch ID, you can double tap the home button to achieve the same effect.
Check your web browser settings
Unless you’re accessing Facebook from your phone, you’ll be using a browser to reach the site.
There are a few things here that could potentially cause a few problems. One good place to start is going into the settings and clearing the history and cache, as this could purge your browser of a stored version of the site which is problematic.
Another thing to consider is whether you currently use security apps, such as Privacy Badger and Ghostery, or Ad Blockers. As these plugins, by their very nature, disable various functionality on a webpage, it could be that there is a conflict occurring somewhere.
Adjust the settings systematically, turning one off then checking if the problem clears, and you might just find the culprit.
Related articles for further reading